Painting: Amazing Grace (set of 3)
I spent a lot of time on these paintings. I should have finished them weeks ago, and I probably should have chosen something less detailed in the first place.
Yet, in some way, I finished them right when I needed to. As I painted the lyrics to John Newton’s sweet hymn on a recent Sunday afternooon, the words comforted my soul.
I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that we’re living in an unsettling time. It seems to be all that any of us can talk about (myself included). Personally, I don’t know how much of a job I’ll have over the next few months, as a baker and barista in quarantine climate. I’ve been preparing for months to spend the summer overseas, but now every aspect of the trip is uncertain. These struggles of mine amount to little compared with what others are suffering; I’ve had friends who’ve lost their jobs in the past few days. Others have to face this crisis with survival odds stacked against them. What might be a bonding time for some families is a living nightmare for those in hostile family situations. People are dying, and their loved ones are mourning without even the closure of a funeral.
All of this will bury you and I in anxiety if we let it.
These thoughts were consuming my mind when I painted the lyrics on the canvas: ‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.
Bear with me here. Looking back, I’ve been in scrapes before. I think of the worst weeks in high school when circumstances in my family felt completely out of control—weeks that I hardly know how to describe. Yet, over the years since, the Lord has comforted the hurt places in my heart. He placed the most wonderful church family around me, provided a family to take me in when I needed it most, and provided jobs to work and a permanent place to live for me and my sister. I’ve watched as He’s met my every need.
I also think back to a year ago, about 5 hours into a 14 hour flight, when myself and the two people with me all got desperately sick. I can hardly describe the fever dream of having about 7 hours left in a stuffy, dark plane cabin, being ill and shaky, not knowing for sure if my teammates were okay or even if we would all make it off the plane. It was one of the most anxiety-intense moments of my life, but the Lord calmed my heart when I pleaded with Him for peace, and, sure enough, we all made it off the plane and lived to tell the tale. (though it did take a good three weeks to fully recover….)
I could name countless similar (if slightly less intense) instances. But why am I telling these stories? I share these because the common theme is that the Lord delivered me from and thorugh all of them.
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far…
Remembering the Lord’s faithfulness in the past informs how we trust Him in the present. From what I know, rest from anxiety isn’t found in answers to our endless questions. No, dear friend, rest is found in lifting our eyes to the One who has faithfully led us all the way.
His grace has gotten us here, and His grace holds our heads up as we look toward a future we do not know.
His grace will lead us home.